With the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup kick-off less than one week away, CONCACAF.com is taking a closer look at each of the 12 participants, one per day until July 7, when the competition kicks off at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Today, we feature 2015 runner-up Jamaica.
Gold Cup Glance: Jamaica
Head Coach: Theodore Whitmore (Jamaica)
Qualification Method: Runner-up, 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup
Previous Appearances: 9 (1991, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2015)
Best Finish: Runner-up-1 (2015)
Record: 13W 5D 17L 40GF 55GA
Current GC All-Time Ranking: 7 out of 24
Biggest Win: 4-0 v Grenada (June 6, 2011)
All-Time Leading GC Scorer: Demar Phillips, Andrew Williams (3 goals each)
Jamaica pulled off one of the biggest surprises in Gold Cup history, when it reached the 2015 final. Although the Reggae Boyz fell 3-1 to Mexico in the decider, they gave hope to all future underdogs, setting a standard for them to exceed.
Football results, however, are not determined by past scorelines. Production always matters. As a result, the Jamaicans will be viewing the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup as a way to forget a qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup that ended prematurely in the eyes of many observers.
Classic 2015 Gold Cup performances, including a 2-2 draw with 2014 FIFA World Cup quarterfinalist Costa Rica and 2-1 semifinal win over the United States, soon gave way to less than typical losses at home.
World Cup Qualifying setbacks at the previously unassailable National Stadium to Nicaragua (2-3), Panama (0-2) and Haiti (0-2) shook confidence. Offensively, Jamaica netted one goal or fewer in six straight outings.
Those who underestimate the Caribbean power, though, due so at their own peril.
While a majority of the European-based standouts are not on the Gold Cup roster, there is no shortage of talent. New York Red Bulls left-back Kemar Lawrence has developed into a Major League Soccer star, while Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake was the 2016 MLS goalkeeper of the year. Forward Darren Mattocks, who scored Jamaica’s lone goal in the 2015 final, is back to take the next step.
Jamaica, which dropped a 2-1 decision to Curacao in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup final on June 25, 2017, is the only Caribbean side to reach the Gold Cup final.